You encounter the word hybrid often today, and it isn’t always easy to understand what it means. A hybrid of two different types of systems… but what are the different types? And is going hybrid better than going with a standard system?
We can’t give you advice about hybrid cars, but we do know a lot about hybrid heating systems. We’ll share our knowledge with you so you can start to decide if a hybrid heater is ideal for your home’s needs.
How Hybrid Heaters Work
Like hybrid cars, hybrid heaters are a combination of different types of fuel systems designed to optimized energy savings and performance. They are also known as dual fuel heating systems because they use two different energy sources.
The standard residential hybrid heater combines a heat pump and a furnace. The heat pump runs from electricity, while the furnace runs from natural gas or a heating oil such as propane. Most of the time in winter, a hybrid heating system uses the heat pump to provide warmth to a home. (Like other heat pumps, it will also run as a cooling system during summer.) But a heat pump can run into energy efficiency problems when the outdoor temperature drops below freezing. As the outdoor coil struggles to absorb thermal energy from the cold air, the furnace will turn on automatically to serve as a backup. Since the furnace operates from a different energy source from the heat pump, it doesn’t lower energy efficiency as it runs. The furnace provides additional heat for as long as necessary. When the heat pump no longer is in danger of losing its efficiency, the furnace will shut back off.
If you think that a heat pump on its own won’t be enough to see to your home’s winter comfort, a hybrid may be the right choice. Let our HVAC specialists help you with making the best selection for your next heating installation.